mcdonalds

The Scene: Working on the laptop at McDonald’s. A table full of pre-teen guys are trying to eat. The oldest (perhaps a freshman among them) is acting like a social rooster, pecking down the awkwardness of the younger guys, strutting for the girls sitting nearby, nudging the smallest one of out of the booth with his rear end… over and over.

I’ve been praying for several minutes about the best way to respond.

And then…

the others all suddenly had to leave. They hopped on bikes and peddled out. He looked like he was waiting for a ride – it was just him and I. I didn’t move toward him, but stood up while holding my drink and spoke.

Me: (slurp) “So, are you the oldest?”

Him: (a bit startled that I’m talking to him) “Huh? Oh, yeah.” (he smiles… like a security blanket… I’m “bigger than he is.”)

Me: “They look up to you, you know.”

Him: (he pauses, as if to realize it) “Oh, yeah. I guess.”

Me: (a half-step slower this time) “They look up to you.”

Him: (he catches my eye) “Yeah.”

Me: “Use that wisely.”

Him: (another pause) “Yeah…” (another pause) “…yeah.”

I go to get a refill, and return. A couple minutes later he heads out to catch his ride.

As he passes, he says, “Hey, see ya!”

—-

Changing the world? Speaking Life into life? Serving students?

Maybe it happens just like this.

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5)

Darren Sutton is a youth worker and author of the new book, Everyone is Called to Youth Ministry. It released this week from LeaderTreks and is designed to help youth workers recruit, train and encourage a youth ministry team.

1 – you’re on a book writing roll right now! Tell us about your latest project!
Dude, I am so stoked!!  This book is coming out of LeaderTreks.  And when I talk about it, I feel like those geeky scientists who get way too passionate about their inanimate inventions!  :)   I basically bled my youth ministry volunteer philosophy on the page.  I believe every single person in the church has a place in your youth ministry – they just don’t know it yet.  This book tells you how to find them, what to do with them, and how Jesus can rock your YM world through adults walking alongside you in ministry.

2 – great so we’ve gotten the shameless plug out of the way – now tell other youth pastors a funny story from your time in the trenches:
Oh my gosh….they’re like Lays potato chips….you can never stop with just one!!  I serve in a beach community – most all my students are fit and health conscious…they won the anti-lotto when they got me!  One night on a mission trip, we were playing hacky sack…and i was dying to prove how limber and awesome fat guys could be!!  So I went for the rockin’ roundhouse over-the-head, triple gainer, heel-back-toe smash…and fell flat on my back…so hard it literally shook the concrete slab we were playing on and the basketball backboards in the gym we were playing in.  Those kids remember nothing else from that mission trip – and never miss an opportunity to remind me of it!  There’s also the time I mistyped a link address in a note I sent to our church e-mail list on behalf of my pastor…and it ended up linking to porn…and looked like it came from him.  Good times….good times.

3 – what are you most passionate about?
hacky sack….not really.  This is a trick question – because we all know we’re supposed to say Jesus.  But I will answer honestly….my family.  My wife and kids –  I am so out of my league and blessed beyond measure.  (I also like teenagers pretty well…and ice cream rounds out the trifecta.)

4 – you have the eyes of a ton of youth workers – what would you say to them?
STOP STARING!!  What I would really say is don’t give up. You might walk away from church work.  You might dump teenagers.  You might even throw in the towel on yourself.  But don’t give up on Jesus.  He’s the only thing worth going to the mat for….or the concrete slab….

5 – will you dedicate your next book to me?
I don’t know – will you write it with me?

JG



Just finished reading a pre-release copy of Darren Sutton’s new book, Everyone is Called to Youth Ministry (releases tomorrow). It is a great book with a simple premise that in reality is a great resource to challenge you to think creatively how to attract, recruit, train and encourage volunteers in your youth ministry. Excited for you to check out this new resource from LeadersTreks!

If you’re a full time youth worker, you have a lot on your plate. Parent meetings, planning a calendar, budgets, teaching, big events, small groups, keeping your senior pastor in the loop, and oh yeah, building relationships with students. Even if you had multiple people teaming up to take on all the responsibilities of the youth ministry, you still would not be able to get everything done. You need a team, but often building that team seems impossible.

In this bold new look at recruiting and training quality adult staff and volunteers, Darren Sutton challenges our thinking on who is called to serve in the youth ministry. Hint: it’s everyone. Darren’s humor will draw you in, and his wisdom and experience in youth ministry will challenge your perspectives on who to recruit and how to train them. This book will help you look everywhere for adults who can passionately serve in youth ministry. After all, everyone’s called to youth ministry…they just don’t know it yet.

JG